The reason for Dhar's approach is simple: Improvements in power density and cycle life can be realized cost effectively. A small, 1.5-kWh lead-acid battery can adequately power a hybrid, while cutting costs by 50 percent, Dhar said. He ultimately hopes to be able to match the power density of nickel-metal hydride chemistries (which are used in 95 percent of hybrids) at one third their cost.
The company's concept doesn't end there, however. Dhar believes EPS can use its lead-acid technology in plug-in hybrids by teaming it with a small lithium-ion battery. In this scheme, the small lithium-ion battery would handle the energy (range) issues, while the lead-acid battery would provide the power. As an example, Dhar says he could replace the 16-kWh lithium-ion battery in the Chevy Volt with a 3.5-kWh lead-acid battery and a 9-kWh lithium-ion pack. Doing so, he believes EPS could cut the battery pack cost of a Chevy Volt from approximately $12,800 to under $6,000.
In essence, Dhar's concept boils down to a simple idea: At $100/kWh, lead-acid costs about one seventh of what today's liquid-cooled, lithium-ion battery packs cost. Moreover, lead-acid has been around for a century and is well understood by engineers.
EPS is reportedly working out a development plan with the state of Michigan and hopes to set up manufacturing facilities in an old Ford assembly plant in Wixom, Mich., by 2014.
With the auto industry scrambling to find a better battery for electric cars, Dhar believes the timing is right for his company's concept:
The industry discarded lead-acid chemistry a long time ago because it didn't have the energy density for electric vehicles. But we think it's time for a paradigm shift. We need to start thinking about how to improve miles per gallon by combining combustion with electrons. Once you do that, it lowers the amount of kilowatt-hours that you need.
Naperlou,, That's just what I've been saying for yrs. Start with reliable tech and then do what you are paid for, design a car around it that makes it work as a system.
Lead is a great battery, very cost effective when designed right. I'm about to go pick up some construction supplies in my lead powered Harley size EV trike pulling it's 14' trailer.
Fact is a 500lb composite 2 seat commuter/town car EV with 500lbs of quality lead deep cycle batteries can go 80mph and 100 mile range, though not at the same time, and be built for under $12k with a nice profit. But as these are not profitable, no rust, few parts to go bad, after the sale big auto and especially big oil hates them.
That said strings of 30 12vdc lead batteries in the article needs a BMS to keep them alive so if a li hybrid battery system now you need 2 complete battery BMS, etc plus cordinating electronics, it's better to replace the li battery with a small ICE like the Toyota X-1 though with lead, to give unlimited range.
Better is fewer cells, lower voltage like 100-120vdc of lead. Since a lightweight, very aero EV needs little power to go a mile one needs a much smaller battery pack to get decent range. My earlier EV sportwagon got 10 miles/kwhr or better. My Trike gets 20miles/kwhr shows what can be done.
Using forklift EV drive tech gives excellent performance at a reasonable cost.
EV's are selling. the Volt is not an EV but a hybrid, if they were not overweight, overteched, overpriced, they would sell.
As for battery life, lead with a good BMS will last 5-7 yrs then only needs to be rebuilt as almost 100% of them are recycled into new batteries. So one could just pay a reforming charge as no new materials are needed and have a new pack.
It's amazing how so many throw up such misinformation about how EV's can't work or limited when there are simple solutions.
So keep paying at the pump as it rises to $10'gal in 5 yrs. It only costs me a couple $/month for my transport fuel and I don't support oil dictators or terrorists it pays for.
I'm not sure about the math on this one... A bit of 'could you double check that math' is going on...
"Dhar says he could replace the 16-kWh lithium-ion battery in the Chevy Volt with a 3.5-kWh lead-acid battery and a 9-kWh lithium-ion pack. Doing so, he believes EPS could cut the battery pack cost of a Chevy Volt from approximately $12,800 to under $6,000."
So... 16kwh Li = $12,800 ($800/kwh-Li)
but... 9kwh Li + 3.5kwh Lead = $6,000? ($555/kwh-Li assuming $1000 for the lead/integration)
Yes Bolder was a great tech but while putting amazing power, it wasn't likely to live long from not being able to keep them balanced. But in larger sizes say 70-100amphr cells with a decent BMS and you'd have serious EV battery pack material.
IIRC Bolders were only 2-3amphr cells made for cordless power tool battery packs. I like them there better than NiCads!! I remember Bill using them in his Killacycle drag bike hitting 8 second 1/4 mile times or so with them.
Facts are the better you design the battery to get power in, out as fast as possible like the Bolder, Optima and Orbital lead batteries have and you get excellent specific power and if you don't starve it of electrolyte and make it refillable you get more range and life.
Sadly most lead battery companies skimp on the interconnects raise cell resistance, etc, just to save a few cents!!
On my belt pack I have to carry I want Lithium!! Same power at 1/2 the weight!!
Interestingly the best lead batteries are about the lowest cost/lb like golfcart or true deep cycle traction batteries by good companies like Deka/East Penn, Trojan, USBattery. Going rate about $1.30/lb. So the 500lb battery pack for my example for 100 mile range costs only $700 or about $100-$140/yr
First the pack is smaller in amphrs and likely in space because lower output lithium batts have a better wthr/lb by about 50% and generally cost less than high output ones.
Thus why having a hybrid pack helps by the lead batteries taking the power spikes, both acceleration and regen while being steadily charged by the lithium pack.
But I fail to see how with a smaller total amphr it can't lose EV range.
Interestingly just by switching the body to composites and cutting the engine down to 30hp range would about double from the weight savings!!
As for cost we have been buying EV size lithium cells for $450/kwhr for a couple yrs retail so I don't expect it's costing GM even that. Add $100/kwhr for making it into a pack and BMS and you are at $550/kwhr.
The original sub-c energy cell was rated for ~1 A/Hr with a discharge rate at 400 AMPS! That gave the Secure Start ( sold at Sears for the replacement for jumper cables in the trunk ) and the original Start Stick for aircraft the power. The cells could be recharged in minutes or seconds if you had the power generation capability...NO heat was generated during the charge/discharge cycle!
We had got the internal resistance and interconnects down to extremely low resistive levels by using wire braid on the cells interconnect system. Internal resistance was the problem with lead-acid technology; we had solved it with the TMF process and special winding machines.
As an aside, ROAR ( the R/C car association ) BANNED the Bolder Energy packs due to the power output they had. I still have a couple of the Bolder TMF R/C packs and the " energy cube " we made ( I'm looking at one now ) as well as my original SecureStart given to the employees as a Christmas Bonus....
I also was contacting the high power audio market to replace the capacitors used for smoothing the high current spikes of the multiple KILOWATTS of the car audio systems at that time.
I was thinking of the actual BATACITOR we created that was in SciFi literature of the time.
The military project was to build a 5 A/Hr energy cell that could be carried like a old fashioned cartridge belt you saw in the westerns. We were in the testing mode for these new energy cells when the company was outsourced. I know because I ran the Test Lab.
I had also worked on the Killacycle powerpack and " loaned " my XJ12 to test the product that became the SecureStart. That is how I got the 400 A figure.
On another robotics project, we worked on " intellegent forklifts " that could have their weight cut in half if Bolder Technology was still around.
One of the speculations I had was about the locomotives being able to use Bolder energy packs and the traction motors to save all the energy they wasted throwing away all that energy in the huge resistor grids on the top of the locomotives. That could save on the Diesel fuel consumption locomotives have.
The " what if " means that this conversation would have been happening over fifteen years ago.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.